The Transition to High School—One Student's Journey from Inly to BC High

By Liam Detwiler, Inly School ’07, Boston College High School ’11

Adapting to a high school from a tightly knit Montessori community may seem like a daunting obstacle. However, the change from an eighth grade class size in the teens to one of approximately 350 students at BC High was not a difficult adjustment. Socially, Inly had provided me with an opportunity to strengthen relationships and make sincere friendships, even with the limited number of students in my class. Academically, Inly provided me with an educationally strong foundation which allowed me to respond to the increase in coursework with ease. Honestly, there is a lot more homework to deal with in high school, but at Inly I developed the time management and pacing skills required to deal with the demands of the new work load.

Additionally, the numerous experiential learning opportunities at Inly created memories and understanding that will last infinitely longer than the average middle school field trip. Our class excursions to Heifer, Sweden, and Ocean Classroom exposed me to different lifestyles and forced me to adapt to my surroundings. The middle school field studies formed my character into one more open and ready to participate rather than anticipate.

The transition to high school—to a school with so many differences to Inly—was initially a concern for me. I was particularly worried that the curriculum at Inly was not rigorous enough and that it offered too much freedom. The anxiety that we were straying from the traditional teaching ideologies emplaced in most public schools came from my belief that I would be one of the few who strayed from the average path to high school and therefore would not have the expected incoming knowledge. That worry turned out to be unfounded, and, in fact, the freedom at Inly gave me the chance to have and learn how to handle independence. The structured nature of most high schools offer a different environment than Inly, but the character and flexibility necessary to adapt to the new environment is something I had learned in middle school.

Currently, I am maintaining high grades and taking courses which are rigorous and demand both a lot of attention and hard work. However, I have been able to endure the previous few years of high school with relative ease. At first, I was surprised with the ease at which I was able to mix in with such a dissimilar school, but I have realized that although Inly may not have been as traditional as most schools, the fundamentals it taught me through experience and independence gave me the necessities to excel.

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